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Part of Western Governors University

Entrepreneurship at WGU

Are You Looking to Get an Entrepreneurship Degree?

A young woman works on a laptop with headphones in her ears.

An entrepreneurship degree can be helpful in building a strong foundation to get a small business off the ground successfully, but it’s not the only path to realizing the entrepreneurial dream of being your own boss. Students who want to launch their own businesses can get the credentials and skills they need from other business degree programs at WGU. Each program is crafted to give students the skills they need to prepare for their lives as business owners and leaders, whether they’re new on the scene or serial entrepreneurs ready to go to the next level. Innovation, strategy, business-related skills, and more are an important part of choosing a program. Learn more about WGU’s business degree program options and how they support entrepreneurial startups of all kinds.

Pathways to an Entrepreneurship Career

Out of 137 countries listed on the Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index (GEDI), the U.S. ranks as number one for its ability to foster entrepreneurship. CNN shared that 452,835 companies were founded in 2014—and while that number is down from 30 years ago, small business failure rates have fallen by 30% since 1977.

With an estimated 582 million entrepreneurs in the world, startup competition can be fierce. Only 50% of entrepreneur-founded businesses survive five years or longer. Meanwhile, CNBC did a survey of small business owners and discovered only 26% are college graduates and only 18% have a postgraduate degree. A business degree could be the key to entrepreneurial success, giving small business owners the background they need to build their businesses while helping them stand out from the crowd with the kind of knowledge and skills that can dazzle investors. And a specific entrepreneurship program may not be needed—many different types of business degrees may provide additional insight and training that an entrepreneurship program won't have.


Bachelor of Science in Business Management

A bachelor's degree in business management is a key component to becoming a successful entrepreneur. Because business and entrepreneurship are closely related, the coursework in this undergraduate degree program and skills you need to be successful overlap, making the program applicable no matter which business category students choose to step into. Starting a business is so much more than just turning an idea into a brick-and-mortar reality. As such, the undergraduate coursework and skills in a business management program are designed to help students become better managers and confident leaders. This program will address many of the components included in an entrepreneurship degree, including small business management skills, innovation, strategy, business analysis, development and training, and more.

Numerous pathways are available to those who have a business management degree. In addition to being a strong support system for launching a small business, it can also help students thrive in any setting, whether they’re pitching to venture capitalists or creating partnerships in the nonprofit sector. This kind of versatility is crucial in entrepreneurship careers.

Some of the valuable entrepreneurship skills students will learn include:

  • Business Communication
  • Quantitative Analysis for Business
  • Project Management
  • Operations and Supply Chain Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Workforce Planning: Recruitment and Selection
  • Training and Development
  • Compensation and Benefits

 

Master of Business Administration

Being a strong leader is one of the most important aspects of successful entrepreneurship, which is why a master's degree in business administration is a great option. This program is designed to help students become a next-level business leader, imparting skills that can prepare them to lead your own successful organization. In a business administration program, students will explore a wide range of topics surrounding management, strategy, and general skills that are vital to one’s success as an entrepreneur.

A business administration degree helps students learn a combination of social and administrative skills, along with general business knowledge. When combined, these components help transform students into strong leaders with the acumen to plot a course for success and make a small business differentiate itself from competitors. This is important for entrepreneurs, as this is the best way to gain attention—and retain customers—in a crowded marketplace.

Some of the valuable entrepreneurship skills students will learn include:

  • Managing organizations and people
  • Communication
  • Operations management
  • Global economics
  • Marketing
  • Accounting for business leaders
  • Ethical leadership
  • Financial management
  • Data-driven decision-making

 

Obtaining a bachelor’s or master’s degree is a great way for entrepreneurs of all kinds to gain the skills, knowledge, and business acumen they need to successfully launch their companies. Having a background in business isn’t necessary before starting the bachelor’s program, but it can be helpful. Once an entrepreneur has earned their bachelor’s, they can easily sign up for a master’s program through WGU to help them build on the strong business foundation they created in our bachelor’s program. This will help students learn more about the business world and how to navigate all the challenges associated with launching, operating, and sustaining a successful company. They can also gain key management skills and learn the value of strong leadership, while discovering how to apply both to the day-to-day operations of their business.

CIO typing on computer

$46,817

is the average annual salary for entrepreneurs.

Learn More about Entrepreneurship and Small Business Ownership

A man surrounded by boxes completes a transaction on his phone.

Whether someone is new to being an entrepreneur, has worked in the business world and is taking the leap into entrepreneurship, or is a serial entrepreneur looking to sharpen their skills, a business degree can make a big difference in their professional lives. While you don’t have to get a degree in entrepreneurship, a business program such as a bachelor’s or master’s degree can help students gain important skills and credentials that can support their company vision and help them launch it successfully.

There are many different pathways an entrepreneur can take to making their business dream a reality. Being an entrepreneur means being one’s own boss and setting the rules according to their vision, including setting their own salaries. A bachelor’s or master’s degree can make a difference in countless aspects of launching a business, ranging from basic business skills to presenting an idea for funding. Before students decide to pursue entrepreneurship, it’s important to understand what it means to be an entrepreneur.

What do entrepreneurs do?

Entrepreneurs create and launch new businesses designed to meet a void in the marketplace. In some instances, they may sell their business to a large investor or another company.

How do I become an entrepreneur?

Identify a product or service that addresses a need that’s not being met and obtain the education needed to refine the idea and gain the skills to launch the business. From there, create the business plan, obtain funding as needed, and execute the plan to take it to market.

Do I need a degree to be a successful entrepreneur?

Not necessarily, but a business degree can be extremely helpful for students who are inexperienced in business or those who are experienced but wish to advance their skills.

Is an entrepreneur degree worth it?

Absolutely. An entrepreneur or business degree can prepare students for every aspect of business ownership. It can also signal to employees, investors, and others that they have the skills to run the business.

Can a degree help me make more money as an entrepreneur?

Yes. Banks, investors, and potential buyers will look to an owner’s experience and know-how before supporting an entrepreneur’s business. Having a degree signals their capability to manage the challenges of owning and operating a business.

What degree is best for an entrepreneur?

A Bachelor of Science in Business Administration–Business Management offers a strong foundation to help students launch their company. Once a bachelor’s is obtained, students can sharpen their business acumen with a Master of Business Administration.

Portrait of designer woman standing in front of small vintage store. Small business.

15 million

workers are self-employed, making up 10% of the workforce with an expected growth projection of 3.6% between 2012 and 2022.

Why Choose WGU?

Choosing a WGU business management or MBA over an entrepreneurship degree from another university is the first step to being a successful entrepreneur. Why? Because WGU offers:

  • Low, flat-rate tuition, charging students the same amount per six-month term, regardless of the number of classes taken. 
  • Competency-based education, allowing students to choose the pace of their course and graduate faster, saving money in the long run.
  • Scholarships and financial aid, making tuition even more affordable and accessible for students from all walks of life.
  • Business programs with career-focused coursework, teaching meaningful skills that will translate directly to a career in entrepreneurship.

 

  • Happy employers
  • Happy grads

They're Prepared.

Blue colored circular bar graph that shows that 100% of employers that were surveyed felt that WGU grads were prepared for their jobs.

Employers said that WGU graduates were prepared for their jobs.

They Perform.

Green colored circular bar graph that shows that 93% of employers that were surveyed rated WGU grads' job performance as very good or excellent.

Employers rated WGU graduates' job performance as very good or excellent.

They Wow.

Purple colored circular bar grap that shows that 94% of employers that were surveyed felt that WGU grads had exceeded their expectations.

Employers said their WGU graduates have exceeded their expectations.

They're Confident.

Blue double bar graph comparing how confident WGU grads were that their coursework related to their jobs WGU: 78%, U.S. avg: 68%

Graduates said the majority of their coursework was related to their jobs.

They're Working.

Green double bar graph comparing how many WGU grads are working full-time compared to grads from other universities. WGU: 88%, U.S. avg: 71%

Graduates are working full-time.

They're Satisfied.

Purple double bar graph comparing how many WGU grads felt satisfied that their degrees were worth paying for WGU: 91%, U.S. avg: 67%

Graduates said their degrees were worth the cost of their education.

Source: 2018 Harris Poll survey of 300 employers; 2018 Harris Poll Online survey of 1,374 new college graduates nationwide compared with survey of 1,147 WGU graduates; Gallup-Purdue Index 2018

Which Degree Should You Choose?

Both a business management bachelor's degree or an MBA program at WGU can help you excel as an entrepreneur. Choosing either degree is a great alternative to a specific entrepreneurship degree for many reasons, and either one or even both programs could help you get needed skills and experience that will benefit your business.

Business Management – B.S. Business Administration

Hone your business acumen and garner added respect:...

Hone your business acumen and garner added...

Hone your business acumen and garner added respect:

  • Time: 68% of graduates finish within 36 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,370 per 6-month term.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Account executive
  • Business analyst
  • Program manager
  • Director or senior director
  • Vice president

This online degree program is an excellent choice for kick-starting your organizational management career.

Master of Business Administration

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on business...

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on...

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on business management, strategy, and leading teams:

  • Time: 80% of graduates finish within 24 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $4,325 per 6-month term.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • President and CEO
  • Vice president
  • Executive director
  • Chief strategic officer

Our competency-based model gives you an innovative learning experience you won't find anywhere else—and our MBA grads tell us they loved accelerating their program to see a faster ROI.